Common Seahorse [Hippocampus Taeniopterus or Hippocampus Kuda]

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Sea horse

Female Common Seahorses are usually yellow with a few large dark spots. Males are grey to brown with striations on the head and fine dark spots on the trunk. The Common Seahorse is listed in many references as H. kuda. Hippocampus kuda, also known as the common seahorse, estuary seahorse, or yellow seahorse is a member of the family Syngnathidae (seahorses and pipefishes) of the order Syngnathiformes. The common sea horse is a small, equine-like fish, with extraordinary breeding methods.[3] Greeks and Romans believed the seahorse was an attribute of the sea god Poseidon/Neptune, and the seahorse was considered a symbol of strength and power. Europeans believed that the seahorse carried the souls of deceased sailors to the underworld – giving them safe passage and protection until they met their soul’s destination. The common seahorse is considered a vulnerable species.

The common seahorse can be found in a variety of habitats in the shallow coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific, including coral reefs, muddy slopes, and shallow estuaries.The common seahorse has been observed to use its prehensile tail to anchor itself to coral branches or floating sargassum in the wild.

 Pictures: Sulawesi, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi

Stonefish [Synanceia horrida]

Stonefish

Synanceia verrucosa is a fish species known as the reef stonefish or simply stonefish. It is a carnivorous ray-finned fish with venomous spines. It lives on reef bottoms camouflaged as a rock. It is the most venomous known fish in the world. It can be lethal to humans. This stonefish lives primarily above the Tropic of Capricorn. It is the most widespread species in the stonefish family, and is known from shallow tropical marine waters in the Pacific and Indian Oceans from the Red Sea to the Great Barrier Reef.

This stonefish is usually brown or gray, and it may have areas of yellow, orange or red. This species reaches 30 to 40 centimeters long; a specimen of 51 centimeters has been recorded. This fish lives in coral reefs. It may settle on and around rocks and plants, or rest on the seabed. It eats mostly small fish, shrimp and other crustaceans.

 Pictures: Great Barrier Reef, Australia by Sami Salmenkivi

Devil Stinger [Inimicus didactylus]

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Inimicus didactylus, also known as Demon Stinger or Devil Stinger, is a member of the Inimicus genus of venomous fishes, closely related to the true stonefishes. It can reach a body length of 25 cm (10 in) and is irregularly surfaced with spines and a knobby appearance. The fish has venomous spines to ward off enemies. The fish are nocturnal, and often dig themselves partially into the sandy seabed during the day. The body is red or sandy yellow and well camouflaged on sandy and coral seabeds.

 Pictures: Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi

Tasselled Wobbegong [Eucrossorhinus dasypogon]

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The tasselled wobbegong (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon) is a species of carpet shark in the family Orectolobidae and the only member of its genus. It inhabits shallow coral reefs off northern Australia, New Guinea, and adjacent islands. Reaching 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in length, this species has a broad and flattened body and head. Its most distinctive trait is a fringe of branching dermal flaps around its head, which extends onto its chin. The fringe, along with its complex color pattern of small blotches and reticulations, enable it tocamouflage itself against the reef environment.

During the day, the solitary tasselled wobbegong can generally be found lying inside caves or under ledges with its tail curled. Individual sharks tend to remain within a local area and have favored resting spots. While resting, it opportunistically ambushes nearby fishes and invertebrates, and also lures in prey by waving its tail to mimic the appearance of a small fish. At night, it emerges and actively forages for food. This species is aplacental viviparous, though little is known of its life history. The tasselled wobbegong has been reported to bite humans unprovoked; attacks may result from people accidentally disturbing the shark or being misperceived as prey. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed this species as Near Threatened, as outside of Australia it is threatened by fisheries and habitat degradation.

 Pictures: Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi

Commerson’s frogfish [Antennarius commerson]

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Antennarius commerson is a small fish which grows up to 38 centimetres (15 in). Like other members of its family, it has a globular, extensible body. The soft skin is covered with small dermal spinules. Its skin is partially covered with a few small wartlike protuberances, some variable shape scab-like blotches and a few small eye-spots (ocelli) reminiscent of the holes in sponges. Its large mouth is prognathous, allowing it to consume prey as large as itself. The coloration is extremely variable as they tend to match their environment. Frogfish can change their coloration in a few weeks. However, the dominant coloration goes from grey to black passing through a whole range of related hues like cream, pink, yellow, red, brown and also usually with circular eye-spots or blotches that are darker than the background. Juvenile specimens can easily be confused with relatives Antennarius maculatus and Antennarius pictus. To distinguish these species, A. maculatus usually has red or orange margins on all fins, while A. maculatus has numerous warts on the skin, and A. pictus is covered with ocelli. A. pictus has three eyespots on its caudal fin.

 Pictures: Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi

Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse [Hippocampus denise]

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Denise’s pygmy seahorse, Hippocampus denise, is a species of fish in the Syngnathidae family. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Its natural habitat is coral reefs. The pygmy seahorse is undoubtedly one of the most well camouflaged species in the oceans, being very difficult to spot amongst the gorgonian coral it lives in. The camouflage is so effective that the species wasn’t actually discovered until its host gorgonian was being examined in a lab.

Large, bulbous tubercles cover this species’ body and match the color and shape of the polyps of its host species of gorgonian coral, while its body matches the gorgonian stem. Two color morphs exist – pale gray or purple individuals scattered with pink or red tubercles are found on the similarly colored gorgonian coral Muricella plectana, and yellow with orange tubercles are found on gorgonian coral Muricella paraplectana. It is not known whether individuals can change color if they change hosts.

The seahorses combine the unique characteristics of several different animal species such as the head of a Horse, using its tail,(grasping) like a monkey, it carries its young in a pouch like a Kangaroo, has a bony external skeleton like an insect and the independent eye movement of a Chameleon making this one of the most spectacular of any fish species. Other distinctive characteristics include a fleshy head and body, a very short snout, and a long, prehensile tail. This is also one of the smallest seahorse species in the world, typically measuring from few millimeters to 2 cm in height. The male carries eggs and young concealed within the trunk region. They are the only creature known where the male gives birth to young live ponies.

The male Seahorse courts the female by attaching his tail to a “hitching post” next to the female and vibrates his tiny Dorsal Fin rapidly to attract her attention. Eventually, she will respond to his advances by extending her “egg tube” slightly and grasping his tail twirling and spinning towards the top of the water while delivering her eggs into the males expanded open pouch. They swim in an upright position with their tails down and their heads up. Their dorsal fin moves them forward and the pectoral fin controls steering and turning. Very little is known about their life cycle. They are thought to eat the same zooplankton as the seafans that they inhabit and they seem to prefer seafans to other family members, as there are normally few other inhabitants on a pygmy’s seafan.

Seahorses are found all over the world and inhabit coral reefs and sea grass beds. They are Widespread in the Western Pacific, including in waters around Indonesia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Vanutu. (text source: Wikipedia)

Pictures: Misool Islands, Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi